Chapter 25 : Chapter twenty five
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One Hundred and Forty going on twelve
Chapter twenty five
Portraits and Graveyards.
Sirius Black, comic, prankster, and generally happy go lucky chap, stood staring at the portrait of Lily and his best friend James, tears of mingled sorrow and joy ran down his cheeks as he tried to find some words to apologise to them for letting them down.
Harry realised that Sirius was still blaming himself for the fate of his parents. He had no idea how to help his godfather come to terms with what had happened other than to reassure Sirius that Peter Pettigrew was the true culprit.
It was Lily who broke the silence “Hello Sirius,” she said a pleasant smile on her face.
“Hello Lily love,” Sirius managed between sniffs “and you Prongs old friend.”
James in turn was staring out of the portrait at Harry, there was a rather long silent pause before anyone else spoke, then Harry swallowed and walking toward the portrait he too shed some tears.
“Hello mum, dad,”
“H, H, Harry?” James stuttered as Harry approached.
“Yes dad, it me, Harry, you have no idea how good it is to be able to hear you speak,” Harry said as he gently reached out to touch the portrait.
Lily reached down with her hand touching the spot where Harry’s hand rested on the canvas “Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry if we were not there for you,” she said before she too was crying.
Hermione joined the two men in the living room as soon as she had put away her shopping; Sirius was just telling James and Lily about some of their son’s life up to that point, when she walked into the room.
James looking at something over Harry’s shoulder alerted them that she had arrived. Harry turned around ‘Hi sweetheart come say hi to my mum and dad’ Harry said to her as she held out her hand to him.
“This is my wife Hermione, she’s the most beautiful and brilliant witch alive,” Harry said to his parents.
“He’s right you know, she really is the cleverest person I ever met, and she is an extremely powerful witch to boot,” Godric said joining in the conversation from his own portrait.
Hermione blushed a bright red “Hello Mr, Mrs Potter,” she said rather quietly.
“So you are my little boy’s soul-mate,” Lily said smiling at the younger witch.
“Harry my boy, you must take after me because you sure picked a very pretty young woman,” James said with a small laugh “I would agree with you about the most beautiful but,” he broke off and looked at Lily and nodded before laughing quietly once again.
“James Potter, don’t talk about your daughter in law as if she’s not here,” Lily scolded, “sorry about that Hermione but, well he’s a man, you know what they are like.”
“Yes Mrs Potter, I know,” Hermione said looking at Harry and chuckling.
James tutted “Now, now my girl,” he said as he clasped his robe collar in both hands and reminded Hermione of a lawyer “you can’t go calling us Mr and Mrs Potter, it just doesn’t seem right.”
“Sorry, would dad and mum be ok?” Hermione said blushing again.
“Ah now that’s much better,” James said puffing out his chest.
Harry drew up three chairs and then the six people, three living and three portraits sat talking until way past dinner time. The Potters were brought up to date on all that had happened in their son’s life, Hermione had insisted on telling about how Harry had been treated by the Dursleys and how Dumbledore had known about it but had done nothing. Sirius and Hermione left Harry talking to his parents at around ten that evening to go to their beds.
Half way through the holiday Harry and Hermione were invited once again to stop at the Burrow with Ginny, Mrs Weasley had turned the old shed into a bedroom for them, though not quite as lavish as the first time it was still very comfortable. They had spent an entire week without being pranked by the twins, growled at by Ron or disturbed by Dumbledore, but all that ended on the Thursday. Harry and Hermione had gone to bed a little early being tired from playing a little two on two quidditch with their friends, at around eleven Hermione woke Harry and asked him to accompany her while she went to the house to use the bathroom.
Waiting on the landing out side the bathroom, Harry heard voices coming from the kitchen, moving closer to the top of the stairs where he could hear who was talking, he heard Mr Weasley saying that the escaped Peter Pettigrew had been sighted just a little further to the south.
“I never even knew he had escaped,” Mrs Weasley said as she put away all the washing.
“Well, remember when Fudge was caught,” Mr Weasley said leaving the rest to his wife’s imagination.
“Time for bed love,” Mrs Weasley said with a yawn.
Harry heard the two adults start up the stairs, quick as he could he rushed back to the bathroom and quietly slipped inside, “Sorry love,” he whispered to Hermione who was just washing her hands, he placed a finger over her lips as she was about to speak.
‘Let’s go to our room quick’ he told her as he heard the Weasleys approaching.
With silent pops both Harry and Hermione apparated to the shed. Sitting on the bed Hermione wanted to know what was going on.
‘I think it’s time we got rid of Voldemort’ Harry remarked as though it was something they did every day.
‘But first we have a small problem to discuss, now you know about the Horcrux’s and how hard they were to destroy’ Harry said slowly.
Hermione knew he had something very serious to talk about even without their connection, she could see it in his face, and she could feel it through the bond, it was something she was not going to like. “Ok Harry James Potter, just how bad is this?”
“It’s about as bad as it can get love,” Harry answered still unsure about how to tell his wife about him possibly being the last Horcrux.
“You are not going to like this,” Harry said looking into Hermione’s eyes.
“Well you should let me decide that, don’t you think?” Hermione said plucking up her courage.
Taking a deep breath Harry told Hermione all about the last Horcrux, adding that Voldemort may have made another and they would need to kill the pet snake he kept with him all the time just to be sure.
As Harry finished he looked up into the teary eyes of his wife “We have to go to Hogwarts, we need to tell Dumbledore, see if he has any ideas,” she said after taking a breath.
Neither of them were able to sleep that night so Harry spent time telling her about his plan and what he had done so far, “The thing is I haven’t worked out how to get the Death Eaters there yet,” he ended with.
“Well just suppose your plan works, which from what you say it should, with him incapacitated then Voldemort wont be able to summon them so we don’t have to worry about them,” Hermione said quietly as she thought of all the possible out comes.
“The problem with that is, all those murdering slime balls get to walk away scot free that way,” Harry answered carefully. He was trying to think of a way to improve on his plan but was coming up with nothing.
“Suppose if you were actually there and you could convince him you had a large number of Aurors arriving very soon to help you capture him, surely he or Wormtail would summon them to help before you carry out your plan,” Hermione said as a plan of her own formed in her head.
The only part Harry did not like about Hermione’s plan was she planned to be with him when he faced Voldemort. But not being able to come up with a better plan he shrugged his shoulders, “Ok Hogwarts in the morning then,” Harry finally agreed.
The following morning at six-o-clock Harry sent Hedwig with a message for Sirius to meet them at Hogwarts as soon as he could, then both he and Hermione went into the Burrow to talk to Mr Weasley before he left for work.
Once they had told Mr Weasley of their plans they took the floo to Hogwarts, arriving in the headmasters study, much to the surprise of Albus Dumbledore, Hermione related her plan to the head master while Harry sat talking to Fawkes the phoenix.
Harry couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony when Dumbledore made a few suggestions to improve their plans, the main one was for Harry to use the link he had with Voldemort to let Tom Know that Harry and Hermione would be visiting Little Hangleton that evening with the intention of capturing Wormtail who he was convinced was hiding in the church there. Harry was to keep from them that he knew Voldemort would be there as well.
During the rest of the day Dumbledore spent his time quietly and without raising any suspicions gathering a small force of the old order of the phoenix, Sirius, Remus, Arthur and Bill Weasley, several of the professors, Mad eye moody and several Aurors and other people all gathered awaiting evening when they hoped to strike the final blow against the evil that was once Tom Riddle.
As four thirty approached Dumbledore led the small force of thirty witches and wizards out of the castle grounds, they were to apparate to Hangleton then under disillusionment charms they were to work their way slowly to Little Hangleton and surround the church yard and then await Hermione’s signal.
At five that evening Harry suffered the immense pain that accompanied the connection to Voldemort, it was the first time he had felt the pain for many years and he had almost forgotten just how bad it really was, forcing himself to remain in control he let slip the thoughts that he and his wife were on the way to Little Hangleton church in search of Wormtail the traitor of his parents.
At five thirty Harry and Hermione silently vanished from Dumbledore’s office, arriving just as silently in Little Hangleton Graveyard. While Hermione took up a position near to Tom Riddle seniors grave, hidden by Harry’s invisibility cloak, Harry made his way toward the church, the first stunning spell that came at Harry missed by several inches, not taking the risk of their plan failing Harry dived for cover and returned an Expelliarmus spell to where he had seen the first spell cast.
Slowly Harry allowed Wormtail to back him into the centre of the grave yard, then Harry sent a stunner which to his dismay actually hit Wormtail full on making the traitor drop the bundle he was holding, there was a sort of squeak and then a high pitched squeal of rage as Voldemort’s tiny talon like fingers grasped his wand and sent a flurry of spells at Harry.
Hermione seeing that their plan was about to fall apart let the cloak fall from around her self revealing her head and shoulders to the evil little thing that was Voldemort.
Voldemort filled with rage about having failed in his own plan to catch Harry, cast the death spell at Hermione, Harry reacting like lightening on seeing the green light leave Voldemort’s wand leapt in front of Hermione.
There was total silence as the spell hit Harry in his chest, Glassy eyed Harry collapsed to the ground dead.
Hermione rushed to cradle her husbands lifeless head in her lap as Wormtail began to recover from the stunner, just a few seconds later and Wormtail was dragging Hermione away from Harry’s body toward Tom Riddle senior’s grave, once there Voldemort ordered the traitor to hold out his arm, with his wand pressed hard onto the Death Eater mark on Wormtail’s arm Voldemort summoned all his Death Eaters to him so that they could witness the fact that Potter was now dead.
Dumbledore and those with him had watched the battle and were now in shock as they looked on, their plan had not only failed but their hope for the future lay dead on the ground surrounded by Death Eaters.
None of them moved, Arthur Weasley stood and allowed silent tears to run down his face as he looked at the body of the boy he would have been proud to call son.
After gloating around Harry’s body for a few minutes the Death Eaters gathered around Hermione. Dumbledore and his small force could do nothing until they saw a chance to free the captured girl and so they waited and prayed.
Wormtail conjured a large cauldron and chanted his way through the ritual he had been practicing, he summoned the bones from the grave of Voldemort’s father, then he chopped off his own hand before dropping the vile looking child into the cauldron, then as he approached Hermione to take some of her blood he was hit by a stunner.
Harry Potter alive and well stood up, and using the bond between them he silently called his wife to him, Hermione vanished from amongst the Death Eaters and reappeared at Harry’s side, together they took cover behind a huge gravestone.
We just need to kill that snake Harry said as Hermione sent a reducto spell behind them; she grimaced at the result of the spell hitting the Snake on its head splattering nearly a quarter of the snake over the nearby graves.
“Scratch one snake,” Harry said without turning around.
All around the Potters the order members had recovered from their shock and were battling with the Death Eaters, Harry held his hands up in the air and cast an anti apparation shield, it would end today, he was not about to let any of the Death Eaters escape.
Hermione was casting stunning spells without her wand or using her hands, she simply chose one of the Death Eaters thought of hitting him with a spell then watched as the red light found its target. Harry watched her for a while till she smiled at him and asked if he intended to help or just watch her do it all.
‘You look really; really cute when you are angry, do you know that?’ Harry told her as he joined in picking off their enemies.
‘Let’s hope you still think so when you find out why I’m bloody angry’ she replied stunning another Death Eater.
‘Hermione Potter, language’ Harry said chuckling.
Five minutes later the battle was over, all that was left was for Harry to complete his plan to rid the world of Voldemort.
With all the stunned and other wise injured Death Eaters bound firmly, Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore, accompanied by all their force gathered around the large cauldron that was still bubbling. Pointing his hand at Wormtail he summoned the filthy and blood stained traitor. With a quick flick of his hand Harry stemmed the flow of blood that was seeping through the cloak wormtail had wrapped around the stump of his arm where he had chopped off his own hand as sacrifice to Voldemort.
“Peter, I want you to do something for me, if you try to escape me you will be dead before you finish transforming, do you understand?” Harry said in a sort of friendly voice.
Wormtail shaking like a leaf nodded,
“Good, now I want you to finish the ritual you were performing, I would like to know what it was all about,” Harry said a small smile on his lips.
Harry noticed Wormtail’s eyes light up as the rat thought he was about to do what he had first hoped to do, the fool boy would have a real surprise when the dark lord stepped from the cauldron and killed them all, Peter had to struggle to keep from laughing as he told Harry he would need some blood with which to finish what he started.
Harry pulled out a small silver knife and stuck it in his palm, he then turned slightly away from Wormtail as he searched his pockets, turning back to the rat Harry handed the evil little man a small vial.
Wormtail still struggling to keep from laughing tipped the contents of the vial into the bubbling cauldron and finished the ritual then stood back as the cauldron began to bubble more fiercely.
A few seconds later a bright light engulfed the cauldron making everyone step back a few paces, several flashes of lightening like lights erupted from the depths of the light around the cauldron then the cauldron shattered and in its place a twisted and bent yew tree began to grow, it stopped when it reached around seven feet high.
Harry walked around the tree a smile on his face, then he found what he was looking for, a vague distorted face grew within the bark, “Hello Riddle, I must say when I planed this I had no idea that you would actually become a tree, still I must admit it does seem rather better this way. You see I just thought it would have poisoned you, maybe stopped you growing at all, I mean Yew trees are supposed to be poison.”
“An eerie wail came from the tree and then an anguished scream “Nooooooooooooooooo”.
“Oh yes Tom Riddle, self named Lord Voldemort, murderer, torturer, and foul beast, I swopped your fathers bones for Yew tree branches, then the blood I just gave Wormtail was Yew tree sap, strange how justice has a way of catching up with you, don’t you think?” Harry said as he sat down on a grave stone just a few feet from Riddle.
Dumbledore and those who had come with him all crowded behind Harry and stared in astonishment at the contorted face in the tree trunk. Hermione sat down next to Harry and took his hand in hers.
“Harry you need to cut it down, there must be no chance of him ever coming back, only you can end this,” she said giving his hand a squeeze.
Harry looked at Dumbledore and with out moving he summoned the headmaster’s wand, pointing it at the tree he took in a deep breath “Good bye Tom,” he said as he sent a cutting charm across the bottom of the tree trunk.
As the tree toppled the roots curled up and began to shrivel away, several more cutting curses later and the tree was just a pile of logs, and fire wood.
With a large frown on his face Albus Dumbledore walked around checking out the injured, there had been just three deaths, all of them had been Death Eaters caught by spells from their own side, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix LeStrange, and Dolohov all lay dead, several Aurors had been hit by various curses but none were very serious.
Two of the Aurors were dispatched to the Ministry to bring reinforcements to take away the prisoners, twenty three of them including Wormtail.
Once that was done everyone Disapparated to the Burrow where a very worried Molly Weasley waited with some bone crushing hugs.
A/Note Harry now has to explain to everyone how he once again survived a killing curse.
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